The recent nomination of U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as attorney general has the marijuana industry worried, as Sessions is a vocal opponent of marijuana and has talked about enforcing federal laws to crack down on the marijuana market, even in states where the substance is legal. The Republican Senator has repeatedly spoken out against marijuana and has been a staunch opponent of it for decades. At a Senate hearing last year, he was even quoted as saying, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”
There are fears that, if Sessions takes office, he will come down hard on the business by enforcing federal laws that still qualify marijuana as an illegal Schedule I drug, despite the fact that a total of 28 states currently allow medical marijuana use and eight of them also permit recreational adult use. It remains to be seen if Sessions will be given a green-light to pursue his anti-marijuana agenda or if President-elect Donald Trump, who is generally in favor of maintaining states’ rights and has spoken in favor of the marijuana industry before, will be able to convince the new Attorney General to his way of thinking.
Many in the industry are pinning their hopes on Trump, expecting the new administration to make good on its promise that it would respect states’ rights. Singlepoint, Inc. (OTC: SING), a leading provider of mobile technology and payment solutions serving various industries, including the marijuana industry via subsidiary SingleSeed, is hoping the Trump administration will support the legal cannabis industry, as the president-elect has vowed to do during his campaign for office. Presidential backing would come at a crucial moment for the industry, among a congressional push for banking reform to allow legal marijuana businesses and related businesses access to financial services.
The proposal was made by a group of 10 prominent lawmakers, in an open letter to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, asking the institution to issue clear guidance on this situation that would make it easier for the industry to access banking services. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s latest guidelines on the matter were issues in 2014, and, since then, less than three percent of the almost 12,000 federally-regulated credit unions and banks have offered their services to the marijuana industry. In the absence of federal banking support, it is up to private companies such as SingleSeed to provide financial services and payment processing options to the market. This means, however, that the industry is currently forced to largely work with cash only, which leads to an increased safety risk to the businesses and their customers, the letter notes. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network said it would review the letter but made no other comments on the issue.
Industry vendors and service providers such as SingleSeed are optimistic about the initiative, as well as the president-elect’s support, given the significant revenue that marijuana could bring to states’ budgets by being properly regulated and taxed. In many states where the substance is legal, a great portion of tax revenue is used to finance schools and substance addition programs. If the new administration does decide to crack down on the regulated marijuana industry, this will take away millions of dollars from such programs; shut down hundreds of small businesses ranging from cultivators and processors to manufacturers, testers and vendors; and will, ultimately, destroy tens of thousands of jobs, industry supporters say.
One of the first merchant service providers in the marijuana industry, Singlepoint’s subsidiary SingleSeed recently awoke from a quiet period, prompted by the unprecedented growth of the industry. The company’s main goal is to help legitimize the industry by assisting retail or medical cannabis providers grow their businesses safely and securely via state-of-the-art non-cash payment solutions and mobile marketing tools.
For more information, visit the company’s website at www.Singlepoint.com
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